SA publishers want Google, Facebook to pay for content

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South African media companies have joined forces to deliver the opening gambit in challenging Google and Meta (Facebook) to be compensated for their content used on these platforms.

The move was announced today by the industry association, Publisher Support Services (PSS).

Says Hoosain Karjieker, CEO of Mail & Guardian Media and chairperson of the PSS: “Globally, platforms like Google and Meta have been using publishers’ content at no cost to grow their market dominance.

“Our objective is to get them to compensate us fairly and equitably for our journalistic efforts; hence we are making submissions on their behaviour in the local market to the Competition Commission’s market inquiry into online platforms in South Africa.”

Karjieker notes the success achieved by similar efforts in other parts of the world, most notably Australia and Europe, which forced these platforms to the negotiating table to have them agree on fair compensation to publishers for their content.

PPS says the Competition Commission launched its market inquiry into online platforms operating in South Africa in May, focusing on online intermediation services.

This includes the market dynamics and business practices that apply across the respective platforms operating in the country.

Although the publishers’ initiative is led by the founder members of the PSS (Arena Holdings, Caxton, Independent Media, Mail & Guardian and Media24), Karjieker invited other media organisations to participate.

“Other publishers and media owners are welcome to join the efforts of PSS or independently make submissions to the inquiry.”

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